Saturday, September 07, 2013

Initiatives from Above

This past year, we got a bunch of initiatives from the Fort.  One of them is that every student on campus is supposed to fill in a special degree plan form on the campus computer system.  Guess whose fault it will be if someone doesn't fill it out?

I have nothing against students figuring out what they want to take to finish their degree.  I think it's a great idea, and I've been helping students do it for a good long time.  But I don't want to be treated like I'm lousy at my job because the student didn't fill in a form on a computer.

Another big initiative has to do with trying to get students to graduate more quickly.  We have a dismal 4 year graduation rate, right along with most other regional comprehensive public universities.  It is what it is.

So the Fort has sent over a command that all advisors are supposed to look at their advisees' credits, and do something to ensure that the advisees will graduate in a more timely manner.

I'm not sure what they want me to do, though.  Do they want me to email every advisee who's within a semester of graduating and tell them exactly what to take?  And threaten them with what if they don't? 

I'm not sure.  Some students who are close to graduating come in and chat, and we go over their planning carefully.  But students who have junior standing don't need to see an advisor at all, so they can change majors, add a second major, add a second minor, whatever, without an advisor's input or advise.

I have to go to a departmental function shortly.  I went out with friends last night, and I had the best time, and I'm thinking that's going to contrast hugely with how this evening's thing feels.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds familiar (not the forms, but the 4-year graduation rate at a regional comprehensive). Many of our students shouldn't, in fact, be taking as many classes as they already are, given how many hours they work for pay. And, yes, a great many have multiple minors and concentrations and certifications, in an attempt to placate (and perhaps put off facing?) the job market. And then there are the transfers. Over 50% of the students in my required junior-level class describe their status with a slash (sophomore/junior, junior/senior) or in a way that sounds oxymoronic if you assume the traditional 4 year trajectory (5th-year senior). Forms aren't going to change that situation. Large infusions of cash in the form of increased institutional support on the state level and more grant aid to individual students at the federal level might, but that's not about to happen, is it? A better entry-level job market might, too, but, unless the jobs are available only to people with 4-year degree in hand, that can work both ways. My students seemed to be working a lot of hours in the boom years of the late '90s/early oughts, too, though for somewhat different reasons (the pull of being able to earn good money in an economy that needed workers rather than fear of loans/not being able to get loans/losing a job to others desperate for a job if they aren't bend-over-backwards flexible).